April 4, 2011 4 Comments
On this week’s LeadershipChat, we’re going to be talking about Valor in Leadership. My co-host, Lisa Petrilli, gives a nice summary of her thoughts on her blog post this week (Three Lost Truths about Valor in Leadership).
For my part, I’m going to narrow the focus down to one aspect that is crucial to the exercise of valorous leadership. It’s what we can call “valor-fuel” – a conviction about what is right, and commitment to do it at all costs.
When we see bold, sacrificial, heroic courage in a leader, we are deeply impressed (think about the movie Braveheart). But what gives a person that sort of backbone? Are they taking valor vitamins with their Cheerios? Is it an inborn trait?
I don’t think so. It’s principled conviction. It’s dedication to a transcendent cause. It’s conscience joining hands with action despite all inner and outer opposition.
While a certain level of pragmatism is warranted in the navigation of life, the valiant leader knows that commitment to principle is the lighthouse. Even a timid soul can be bold as a lion when driven by a sense of right and wrong. So-called leaders whose moral compasses swing wildly according to the conditions and opinions surrounding them may be able to exercise influence, but they will not be known for valor as leaders.
That title is earned, often at great personal cost, and with a willingness to endure headwinds. The valiant leader doesn’t poll others to find out what is right and wrong. He or she shows others by a commitment to principle.
Valor. May we aspire to nothing less.
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